“Mom, did we somehow drive to Europe?” one of the kids jokes from the backseat.
Pulling into the driveway of Hofsas House, the cheery pink exterior flanked by blossoming hydrangeas exudes an obvious European flavor. It’s not hard to see why the kids are convinced that we have taken a trip across the Atlantic. Despite the ambience, we haven’t crossed the ocean, but we are certainly near one. The charming inn sits just eight blocks from Carmel Beach and the Pacific Ocean, in Carmel by the Sea. In a city known for its eclectic appeal and distinctive demeanor, Hofsas House manages to stand out with its unique offerings, and even more unique personality.
~Famed American artist Maxine Albro was a friend of the Hofsas Family and painted this mural~
A Bavarian themed mural on one side of the entryway sits opposite a traditional Dutch door that leads to the reception area. The top half of the door is swung widely open in a welcome gesture to both guests and the cooling ocean breeze. Just in case there is any question about the air of hospitality, a sign on the door offers one more reminder with the words “Come in the evening, come in the morning, come when expected, come without warning, and the oftener you come, the more we’ll adore you.”
Location, Location, Location
In the intimate village of Carmel by the Sea, everything is delightfully within walking-or strolling-distance. Hofsas House is located on the edge of the village, providing a secluded getaway from the busy center of town while also offering plenty of off street parking in the dedicated parking lot. The boutique hotel is a perfect homebase for exploring not only Carmel by the Sea, but nearby Big Sur, Monterey, and Pebble Beach.
~Exterior View of the Hofsas House~
Family Friendly, Family Operated
Everyone is welcome at Hofsas House, from families to Fido. Among the 38 rooms, the hotel offers suites to gift parents and kids separate spaces for spreading out. And if your family happens to include a canine companion, pet friendly rooms can also be arranged. For kids, the heated outdoor pool is the major draw, and Hofsas is one of the few hotels in the village that offers such an amenity. At 80 degrees, the pool is usable in any season. Although there was a bit of chill in the air, my kids more than happy to splash into the warm water. After their swim, they enjoyed their first ever dry sauna experience, another very European nod for the hotel.
~Beautiful Table Sits Next to the Sun Drenched Patio~
Family operated isn’t just a platitude thrown out for glossy brochures; it’s a way of life for the Hofsas Family. A vision for a hotel that exceeded typical standards was established in 1947 by Donna Hofsas, and that vision is perpetuated by her granddaughter, hotel proprietor Carrie Theis. Carrie learned the hotel business from the ground up, playing among the cottages when she was a child and working behind the front desk as a teenager. Keeping it all in the family, Carrie is an ever present and smiling face for visitors, many of whom come back to Hofsas again and again to enjoy the warmth.
~Flowers of every variety and hue blossom around the Hofsas property~
A Room with a View
“Leisure with Dignity” is the motto of Hofsas House and this is most obvious in the distinctive guest rooms. Every room has the standard amenities of flat screen TVs and excellent wireless internet connections, and some have fireplaces and patios, but no two rooms are exactly alike. In keeping with the family theme, Theis’ mother serves as the decorator, choosing personal touches to create a homey feel in each room. A departure from the typical cookie cutter appearance of hotel rooms is another European flavor, but there is one thing that does not mimic an old world hotel-the size. Hotel rooms are exceptionally spacious with plenty of room for relaxing near the fireplace, or enjoying the view. A view of the ocean can be seen from many of the balcony patios, and sunsets are particularly breathtaking.
~Many firsts at Hofsas House, including the first ever hotel with Dutch doors~
All This and Breakfast Too
A continental breakfast-of course with a European flair-is available in the lobby and included in the price of the room. Pastries, fresh coffee, fruit, and yogurt are a part of the unfussy fare. Guests are invited to enjoy their breakfast by the fire in the lobby or to take a tray back to their room. Whatever the choice, it’s obvious that breakfast is the time for the hotel owners to touch base with the guests and for guests to take advantage of the expertise and hospitality offered by the owners.
~Warm and inviting lobby at Hofsas House~
While I am gathering my breakfast, I watch in warm amazement as Carrie Theis seems to be everywhere and doing everything with infinite hospitality. One minute she is pouring a cup of coffee for a guest, and the next she is seated on the overstuffed couch pointing out sightseeing options on a map. As one guest leaves for a day of wildlife watching, she lends a pair of binoculars from behind the desk to make the day a little more enjoyable. As other guests check out, they share warm hugs with the proprietor, proof that Hofsas House offers more than just a place to stay for the night. There is nothing that is standard or typical about a stay here-and that’s just how they like it.
~Hofsas House provided complimentary lodging for my family. They did not require that I express a particular viewpoint and all opinions are my own~